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ALCESTIS 


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ALCESTIS 

and  Other  Poems 


BY 

SARA  KING  WILEY 

Author  of 

"  Poems,  Lyrical  and  Dramatic  : 

Cromwell,  a  Play  " 


il5etD  PorS 

THE  MACMILLAN  COMPANY 

London:  MACMILLAN  &  CO..  Ltd. 

1905 
All  Rights  Reserved 


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Copyright,  1905 
The  Macmillan  Company 


Set  up.    Printed  August,  190s 


THE  MASON   PRESS 

SYRACUSE      :      NEW   YORK 


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iFreUcric  ILinlDalep  DrummonB 

3  DeHtcate  t|)t0  Booit 


The  author  desires  to  thank  the  Editors  of 
Harpers'  Magazine,  The  Outlook,  and 
The  Churchman  for  permission  to  re- 
print verse  first  pubHshed  in  their  pages 


CONTENTS 

Alcestis             ...... 

Page 
I 

Iphigeneia 

40 

Spring  Winds 

48 

Age  (Rembrandt's  "Philosopher") 

49 

The  Clock  (i) 

53 

The  Clock  (ii) 

S3 

Pocahontas  in  England 

55 

The  Mocking  Bird           .... 

58 

Envoy     

60 

ALCESTIS 

CHARACTERS 

Admetus,  King-  of  Thessaly 

Alcestis,  his  wife 

The  Father  of  Admetus 

The  Mother  of  Admetus 

The  Priest  of  Apollo 

Heracles 

Death 

The  Children  of  Admetus  and  Alcestis 

Servant,  Steward  of  the  Palace 

Chorus,  composed  of  men  and  women,  the  friends 
and  servants  of  Admetus 

The  Spirits  of  the  Dead  in  Hades 


ALCESTIS 


ACT  I 

Scene  I.  Within  the  palace  of  Admetus.  The  first  court 
with  a  fountain  and  basin  in  the  center,  surrounded  by  the  pe- 
ristyle, six  Doric  columns  being  visible  across  the  end  of 
the  court,  and  three  on  either  side.  At  the  back,  in  the  center, 
is  seen  the  corridor  leading  through  to  the  peristyle  about  the 
court  of  the  women's  apartments.  On  the  left,  at  the  back, 
between  the  pillars,  is  the  curtained  opening  to  the  master's 
chamber,  within  which  is  the  couch  of  Admetus.  At  the  left 
front  is  a  colossal  statue  of  Apollo.  At  the  right  front  is  an 
altar  and  tripod.     About  the  wall  hang  silver  shields. 

When  the  scene  opens,  the  entrance  to  the  master's  chamber 
is  covered  by  a  curtain.  The  chorus  of  men  and  women  enter 
through  the  corridor,  singing  and  dancing  in  honor  of  Apollo. 

P.EAN 

Strophe  i. 
Hail,  O  Apollo,  that  guidest  the  sun  with  the  coursers 

of  light ! 
Hast  thou  forsaken  thine  ancient  home,  and  the  hills 
and  the  halls  once  beloved  ? 
I 


Alcestis  Act  I 


Sending  with  dreadful  falling  of  shafts  upon  us  dark 

death,  the  night, 
Say,  hath  thy  beauty  and  blessing  so  far  and  forever 

removed  ? 

Anti-strophe  i. 
Golden-bright  god,  thou  that  bringest  the  order  that 

rulest  our  day. 
Thou  the  sweet  sound  from  the  smitten  lyre,  and  the 

song  from  rude  speech  dost  release. 
Forth  from  the  carven  stone  fair  forms,  and  urns 

from  the  yielding  clay ; 
Healer,  we  pray  thee,  restore  us  from  tumult  of 

pains  unto  peace ! 

Epode  I. 

Thou  didst  conquer  Marsyas 
By  thy  mighty  sounding  strain. 
Force  the  cruel  Death  to  pass — 
Coming  in  pain ! 
Loxias,  thou  lord  of  light, 
By  thy  golden  arrow's  might. 

Give  back,  O  ruler  of  kings,  our  king  to  his  kingdom 
again ! 


Act  I  Alcestis 


Strophe  2. 
Thou  that  didst  love  Hyacinthus,  and  seeing  his 

blood,  on  the  grass, 
Purphng  the  tender  new  green  of  spring,  and  across 

the  white  Hmbs  spreading  slow, 
Mourned  till  the  flowers  opening  blue  were  marked 

with  thy  cry  "Alas," 
Silently  joined  thy  lamenting  all  drenched  with  thy 
tears  as  they  flow. 
Anti-strophe  2. 
Thou  the  sweet  Daphne  pursuing  with  love  of  her 

swifter  than  wind. 
Clasping  her  close  as  her  trembling  ceased  and  her 

softness  grew  roughened  and  cold, 
Stripping  with  kisses  the  slender  leaves  around  thy 

bright  brows  to  bind. 
Lifted  by  love  she  forever  the  symbol  of  honor  shall 
hold! 
Epode  2. 

Ah,  for  Asclepius,  woe. 
Deep  revenged,  sore  deplored, 
By  wrath  of  Zeus  struck  low, 
Death  conquering  lord ! 


Alcestis  Act  I 


Spouse's  love  and  children's  love, 
Both  shall  here  thy  pity  move ; 

Lover  and  father  and  friend  art  thou — be  thy  pas- 
sion outpoured ! 

Full  cho. 
Across  the  hills  of  Pherae  gold-shafted   falls  the 

light, 
But  weary  are  the  watchers  that  told  the  hours  of 

night — 
Sunk  ever  in  deeper  sorrow  as  day  reveals  again 
Heavier  on  their  master  the  wasting  touch  of  pain. 

Semi-cho.  (women). 
How  fares  Alcestis  ?     Tell  to  me  who  love  her  ? 

Semi-cho.  (men). 
Fears  more  than  ye,  and  more  than  ye  she  hopes. 

Semi-cho.  (women) . 
Anguish  drives  up  her  courage,  as  great  wind 
Exalts  the  flame  from  embers  fallen  gray. 

Cho.         What  intolerable  weight 
Shall  the  minutes  bear 
When  the  hastening  fate 
Shall  approach  us  there 


Act  I  Alcestis 


Golden  with  hope  or  dyed  black  with  the  hue  of 
despair, 

(The  curtain   before  the  entrance  to   the 
master's  chamber  is  drawn,  showing  Ad- 
metus  upon  the  couch,  and  Alcestis  bend- 
ing over  him.) 
Admetus.     Is  there  no  hope? 
The  black  gnlf  yawns  before  my  sliding-  feet, 
The  cold,  deep-clutching,  hungry  hands  of  death 
Drag  me  on  weakening.     Less  and  less  I  strive. 
The  thickening  horror  presses  down  my  breath. 

0  save  me,  save  me,  mercy,  pitying  gods ! 

Alcestis  (going  down  before  the  altar  and  kneel- 
ing).    He  sufifers !  Every  breath  he  draws  in  pain 
Is  sharper  than  quick  swords  within  my  breast. 
Send  help,  O  Zeus,  my  heart  is  at  thy  feet, 
My  life  is  all  a  prayer  that  he  may  live. 
My  agony  is  an  enfolding  cloud, 

1  draw  my  breath  as  one  that  breathes  in  fire, 
I  move  bowed  down  beneath  a  grievous  load, 
My  voice  is  but  to  cry  and  to  beseech, 

O  spare  my  husband,  spare  my  best  beloved ! 
Is  there  no  sacrifice  can  move  thy  mercy  ? 


Alcestis  Act  I 


Cho.     Alas,  alas,  no  answering  fire  is  here. 
Ale.  (returning  to  Admetus). 

They  say  the  halcyon  bears  her  sinking  mate 
On  wings  outspread,  above  the  raging  waves, 
In  power  of  love  prevailing  with  the  sea. 
So  let  me  bear  thee  sheltered  on  this  breast. 

Cho.         As  the  gathering  night 

That  thou  canst  not  stay, 
As  the  waning  light 
And  the  speeding  day, 
Thus  the  departing  life  that  hasteth  away. 

As  Leander  strove 
In  his  strength  to  attain 
To  his  waiting  love 
While  the  mortal  pain 

Gathered  and  overwhelmed  till  he  struggled  in  vain. 

In  the  Lethe  wave 
The  life  vanisheth. 
And  no  love  can  save 
The  foredoomed  breath, 

For  deeper  than  seas  of  the  earth  are  the  waters  of 
death. 


Act  I  Alcestis 


Scnii-cho.  (men). 
The  priest  is  here,  O  King. 

(Admetus  tries  to  speak,  but  fear  masters 
him  and  he  hides  his  face  on  the  breast 
of  Alcestis.) 
Semi-cho.  (women). 
Too  much  he  fears,  he  cannot  hear  his  fate. 

(The  priest  enters  and  stands  alone,   all 
drawing  away  from  him  in  awe.     The 
father  and  mother  of  Admetus  enter.) 
Father  (to  Admetus).     What  hope,  beloved  son? 
Adm.     I  cannot  ask. 

Cho.  From  Apollo's  shrine 

May  the  prophet  bring 
Such  a  word  divine 
As  the  learned  spring, 
As  Helicon  clear  and  bright,  to  our  suffering  king. 
Ale.     Come  forth,  O  priest  and  speak  with  me 

apart.  (The  priest  refuses  by  a  sign.) 

Priest.     Dreadful  the  choice  my  fated  word  im- 
parts ; 
O  ye  that  love  the  king,  search  now  your  hearts. 
Father.     I  am  no  weakling;  speak,  I  love  my  son. 


Alcestis  Act  I 

8 

Though  I  am  old,  yet  is  my  courage  high ; 
I  fear  no  foe,  I  am  a  warrior  still. 
I  shall  dare  boldly,  now,  to  save  thee,  boy, 
And  if  my  strength  is  less,  my  skill  is  more. 

Mother.     What  may  thy  mother  give  and  what 
endure. 
Whose  life  was  one  with  thine,  whose  yearning  love 
Brooded  about  thee  first  of  loves  that  were. 

Ale.  (-who  is  holding  her  husband,  to  the  priest). 
What  need  that  he  should  hear  ?  Come  thou  aside, 
Let  him  not  know  until  we  bring  him  health  ? 

(To  Admetus.) 
Sweetheart  of  mine,  until  we  bring  thee  health  ? 

Adm.     No,  no,  I'll  hear  the  word — I  am  the  king. 

Priest.     Thus  spoke  Apollo  of  the  golden  lyre, 
The  golden  arrows  and  the  gold  sun-fire, 
Forth  from  the  gloom  on  rushing  wind  out-blown : — 
"Who  giveth  life  to  thee  shall  give  his  own." 

Semi-cho.  (men). 
O  dreadful  word ;  who  shall  abide  this  test  ? 

Semi-cho.  (women). 
Not  I,  alas,  although  I  love  my  king. 

Father.     Were  there  a  fight,  I  should  not  hesitate, 


Act  I  Alcestis 


But  here  is  never  a  chance  or  hope  for  Hfe, 
A  certain  dark  and  hideous  overthrow. 

Mother.     Pheres,  my  lord,  I   cannot  have  thee 

die— 
Father.     What  evil  dost  thou  prate,  thou  foolish 
priest  ? 
Apollo  loves  no  bloody  sacrifice. 
Thus  shall  his  meaning  be  interpreted  : 
What  is  "our  own"  ?     The  power  and  glory  of  life. 
I'll  hang  Apollo's  altars  with  new  gold, 
Till,  like  to  beaming  orbs  perpetual, 
They  flash  and  sparkle  on  the  dazzled  eye. 
Or  I  will  fight  and  win  a  thousand  lives. 
And  shackle  them  to  be  Apollo's  slaves. 

Mother  (to  Admctus).     And  I  will  spend  my  days 
in  sighs  and  tears. 
Bathing  his  altars  with  that  piteous  rain. 
And  only  live  to  plead  and  pray  for  thee. 

Father  (to  Admetus).     Look  up,  my  son,  for  I 

will  bring  thee  health. 
Mother.     O  I  would  die  for  thee,  but  that  thy 
father 
Would  then  be  left  in  age  companionless. 


Alcestis  Act  I 


Sweet  son,  believe  me,  I  would  die  for  thee. 

Father.     Speak  not  of  such  a  folly.     I  shall  go 
To  storm  Apollo's  altars  for  thy  health. 
And  have  the  swollen  waters  of  my  might, 
Augmented  by  my  love  and  by  my  fears, 
Shrunk  to  so  small  a  current  suddenly 
They  cannot  sweep  this  saplinsf  from  my  path? 
Why,  priest,  thou  darest  not  oppose  my  will. 

Both.     Farewell,  dear  son,  we  shall  return  rejoic- 
ing. 
(They  hesitate  and  begin  to  weep  as  they  go 
forward  to  embrace  him.) 
Mother.     Say  thou  art  easier  now,  beloved  son. 
Father.     Thy  strength  is  fast  returning,  is  it  not  ? 
(Admetus  shakes  his  head  and  hides  his 
face.) 
Ale.  (to  parents).     Be  not  sad,  I  think  he  will  not 
die. 
(Admetus  starts  and  looks  at  Alcestis  fear- 
fully.) 
Ale.     (avoiding    her    husband's    eyes).     Go    to 
Apollo's  altar  and  there  pray, 
I  think  indeed  that  he  will  hear  thy  prayers. 


Act  I  Alcestis 

II 

(The  father  and  mother  look  signiticantly  at 
each  other,  and  embrace  Alcestis.     Ad- 
metiis  sinks  back  half  disappointed.) 
Adm.     No,  no ;  there  is  no  hope,  there  is  no  hope. 
Father  and  Mother  (embracing  Alcestis).     More 
than  our  daughter,  be  thou  ever  blessed ! 
We  go  to  pray ;  we  go  to  beg  for  mercy. 
Take  heart,  Alcestis,  we  will  give  much  gold. 

Semi-cho.  (men). 
Alas,  alas,  life  only  pays  for  life. 

Semi-cho.  (zvomen). 
Alas  for  us,  the  king  will  surely  die ! 

Father.     Get  hence,  ye  peevish  maids,  your  evil 
song 
Troubles  the  king.     Hence,  all  ye  croakers,  hence! 
(He  drives  out  chorus.      The  father  and 
■mother  go  02it). 
Ale.  (ptitting  her  hand  on  Adnietus'  forehead) . 
Thy  brow  burns  like  a  brazen  cup  thrice  heated. 
That  holds  within  the  throb  of  boiling  liquor. 

(Takes  him  in  her  arms). 
Come,  lay  thee  here,  and  lulled  by  the  low  motion, 
Sleep  like  the  robin  rocked  in  summer  zephyrs. 


Alcestis  Act  I 


This  breast  stirs  in  the  wind  of  love,  soft  blowing; 
Forget  the  world,  remember  how  I  love  thee. 
And  I  will  sing  of  love  and  night  and  spring. 

Through  clustered  bloom  of  orchard  trees 

Murmurs  the  evening  breeze, 
And  rippling  like  a  shallow  stream 

Lulls  to  a  drowsy  dream. 
In  the  pale  sky  the  moon  hangs  pale, 

The  apple  petals  sail 
And  sink  in  deep  grass,  gleaming  green. 

Where  darkening  shadows  lean. 
The  robins  twitter,  settling  slow ; 

The  nearing  cattle  low ; 
Their  herders  whistle  as  they  come, 

And  children  scamper  home. 
All  that  went  forth  to  toil  and  quest 
Gather  to  love  and  rest. 
(Admetus  sleeps.     Alcestis  goes  down  to 
the  altar  and  prays,  standing  with  up- 
lifted arms.) 
Ale.     Refuse  not,  O  ye  gods,  that  solemn  courage 
Ye  breathe  on  warriors  marching  into  battle. 
For  these  defend  their  country,  I  my  husband. 


Act  I  Alcestis 

13 

That  is  to  me  my  home,  and  is  my  country. 
Lift  up  my  heart  above  the  fear  of  dying. 
Receive  my  yielded  life,  and  spare  my  lover. 

(The  flame  leaps  upon  the  altar.     Alcestis 
hows  in  silent  prayer,  and  then,  rising, 
turns  tozuard  Admetus.) 
Ale.     O,  thou  more  precious  than  the  light  of 
heaven, 
Than  all  the  cheerful  unknown  days  to  be 
That  beckon  me  to  stay,  accept  my  life! 

(After  a  minute's  pause  she  goes  forward 
and  draws  the  curtains,  returning  to  the 
altar,  before  which  she  sinks  weeping. 
The  fire  grows  dim.) 
Ale.     A  cold  breath  strikes  upon  my  happiness 
Like  sudden  fierce  spring  winds  on  early  flowers. 
I  hear  the  heavy  plashing  of  his  oars 
Who  comes  to  take  me  to  the  realms  of  death. 
Admetus,  I  have  lost  thee  in  the  gloom, 
I  shall  not  ever  feel  thy  clasping  arms. 
Nor  the  soft  pressure  of  my  children's  lips, 
Nor  hear  their  bird-sweet  callings  at  the  dawn, 
Nor  watch  them  grow  in  beauty  and  in  strength, 
Nor  guide  and  guard  their  tender  steps  from  harm. 


Alcestis  Act  I 

14 

My  heart  grows  faint,  my  body  chills  and  fails ; 
Alas,  I  am  too  weak.     Give  courage,  Zeus ! 

(The  -fire  leaps  up.) 

A  dm.     Alcestis ! 

Ale.  Beloved  voice ! 

Like  the  sudden  song  of  a  bird  in  deepest  night, 
That  through  the  lapsed  senses  subtly  steals. 
Exalting  on  a  flood  of  ecstasy 
The  dulled  heart  to  the  ringing  silver  heaven. 

Adni.     Nicias !     Erechtheus ! 

(Enter,  hastily,  the  chorus  of  servants  and 
friends,  who  draw  back  the  curtain.) 

Adm.     Draw  back  these  curtains,  let  me  see  the 
sun! 
Bring  wine,  my  heart  revives ;  why  did  I  fear  ? 
Come  hither,  my  Alcestis,  come  in  joy, 
Strength  courses  through  my  veins  like  sap  in  spring. 

Ale.    (to    chorus).     Give    me   the    wine.     (She 
raises  the  goblet.)     Asclepius,  to  thee 
I  pour  libation  forth  in  prayer  and  praise 
Whose  love  in  saving  man  from  death  brought  pain 
On  thee  that  loved,  and  death  from  jealous  Zeus; 
For  the  all-glorious  Dorian,  thy  sire, 


Act  I  Alcestis 

15 

Slew  in  revenge  the  instruments  of  wrath 
And  in  the  expiation  of  that  deed 
Dwelt  in  these  halls  a  servant  to  the  king — 
Whom  yet  as  friend  surpassingly  he  loved — 
And  in  our  misery  hath  pled  for  us 
And  won  from  Zeus  this  oracle  of  life. 
The  runner,  sinking,  passes  on  the  torch 
And  in  the  swifter  hand  the  glory  speeds — 
Thy  love,  Asclepius,  gives  hope  to  mine. 

(She  pours  a  libation  and  goes  up  to  Ad- 
mettis  with  the  goblet.) 

Say  thou  dost  love  me,  say  thou  dost,  my  lord ! 

Adm.     No  need  to  say  those  words,  thou  knowest 
I  do. 
Thy  cheek  grows  pale,  Alcestis. 

Ale.  It  is  joy, 

Excess  of  happiness,  as  the  bright  rain 
Fallen  after  drouth  bends  down  the  shining  flowers. 

Adm.     Thy  hand  is  cold.     Rest  on  this  couch  a 
space,  (He  rises.) 

Bring  wine;  haste,  haste!     Alcestis,  O  my  wife! 
Look  up,  thy  husband  calls,  Admetus  calls. 

Ale.     Be  not  dismayed,  Admetus,  grieve  thou  not, 


Alcestis  Act  I 

i6 

I  shall  but  sleep  awhile,  but  sleep  awhile. 
Yet  kiss  me,  my  beloved,  it  grows  dark. 

Adm.     Nay,  the  bright  sun  still  shines  upon  thee, 
sweet.  (In  agony  he  cries:) 

O  Zeus,  the  striving  pinions  of  my  prayer, 
Heavy  with  terror,  cannot  rise  to  thee! 
Shall  I  accept  the  priceless  sacrifice? 
Nay,  rather  let  me  die  that  am  foredoomed ! 

Ale.     Forbear;  for  all  is  done.     It  is  my  will 
And  Zeus  hath  sanctioned  it. 

Adm.  No  more,  no  more ! 

My  mind  is  frozen  with  the  chill  of  grief. 
And  I  am  dumb  save  for  the  bitter  cry, 
"Is  there  no  remedy  in  earth  or  heaven?" 

Ale.  (faintly).     Protect  our  children;  love  them 
for  my  sake 
With  double  love,  care  for  them  tenderly. 

(Admetus  weeps  and  cannot  answer  her.) 
Admetus,  yonder  cometh  one  in  black, 
A  great  and  formless  thing — I  fear,  I  fear ! 

(Controlling  her  shuddering  she   tries  to 
smile  on  Admetus.) 
Yet  fear  not  thou  for  thee  it  cannot  harm. 


Act  I  Alcestis 

17 

Adm.     Alas,  sweet  wife,  alas  can  I  not  save  thee? 

Ale.     The  worst  is  past;  the  pain  will  cease  so 
soon  ; 
Beloved,  thou  art  strong,  O  hold  me  close. 
Bend  nearer,  now  I  cannot  see  thine  eyes. 

Adm.     Alcestis,  do  not  leave  me ! 

Ale.     The  summer   evening   comes,   serene   and 
sweet, 
The  birds  are  calling  softer,  one  by  one. 
The  cool  woods  loose  their  perfumes  on  the  air, 
The  golden  glimmer  sinks  in  greening  gloom. 
The  stillness  deepens  and  I  rest  alone. 

Adm.     O  not  alone,  canst  thou  not  feel  my  hand? 

Ale.     Farew^ell,  farewell,  how  easy  'tis  to  die. 


ACT  II 


Scene  I.  Before  the  palace  of  Admetus.  Enter  from  the 
palace  the  funeral  train,  bearing  Alcestis,  covered,  to  the  tomb, 
and  followed  by  Admetus,  in  mourning  garments. 


DIRGE 

Semi-chorus  of  women. 

Come  every  tender  maiden, 
Your  purple  garments  tear, 

Your  eyes  with  teardrops  laden, 
Steel-shorn  your  curling  hair. 

Grief  is  a  quenchless  shower, 
For  she,  all  praise  above. 

Lies  like  a  fallen  flower 
Trod  by  the  foot  of  Love. 

As  when  the  sharp  sun,  stooping. 
In  summer  blazes  bold. 

Her  golden  head  is  drooping, 
A  golden  marigold. 
i8 


Act  II  Alcestis 

19 

A  woman,  unrelying 

On  strength  of  sword  or  spear, 

Love-panoplied,  defying, 
She  met  the  mortal  fear. 

To  hero  hearts  compare  her, 

For  love  alike  that  died. 
Fair  in  her  life,  but  fairer 

In  laying  life  aside. 

Admetus.     Set  down  your  burden,  let  me  see  her 
face.  (They  uncover  Alcestis.) 

Thou  makest  even  death  thy  servitor. 
His  icy  fingers  crown  thine  excellence, 
O  peerless  queen.     Serenely  fair  thou  liest. 
Thy  lily's  pallor  lovelier  than  the  rose. 
Bring  here  her  children,  that  have  wept  all  night. 
For  if  they  look  on  her  as  now  she  lies, 
Perhaps  in  the  long  motherless  years  to  come 
They  shall  remember  her,  how  fair  she  was ! 

(Attendants  bring  in  the  children,  who  cling 
in  terror  to  their  father  and  hide  their 
faces  when  he  tries  to  make  them  look 
upon  Alcestis.) 


Alcestis  Act  II 

20 

Adm.     Alas,  they  know  the  mother's  heart  is  still ; 
Take  them  away,  and  ye,  take  up  your  load. 
To-morrow  shall  we  light  the  funeral  pyre. 

(He  goes  up  the  steps  of  the  palace,  and  they 
lift  the  body  of  Alcestis.) 
Adm.     O  gentle  wife,  whose  days  were  blessed- 
ness. 
Thou  hast  first  caused  me  grief  in  leaving  me. 
These  palaces  that  thou  hast  left  forlorn 
Shall  be  a  temple  consecrate  to  thee, 
That  was  a  home — no  more  forever  a  home ! 

(They  all  go  out,  leaving  him  alone.) 
Adm.     1  cannot  live  without  her  any  more ; 
I  cannot  bear  the  daily  lonely  life. 
My  kingdom  is  no  more  than  parcelled  earth ; 
Subjects  and  friends  pass  by  in  happiness, 
I  cannot  rule  nor  reign  nor  care  for  them ; 
And  duty  is  a  word  for  other  men. 
I  am  a  coward  and  take  a  coward's  way. 

(He  draws  his  sword  and  is  about  to  kill 
himself  when  the  Steward  enters.) 
Steward.     Great  Heracles  is  come,   the  son  of 
Zeus, 


Act  II  Alcestis 

21 

Passing  from  Thebes  on  mighty  conquest  bound, 

Who  spht  the  jaws  of  the  Nemean  lion, 

And  tamed  the  fearful  steeds  that  belched  forth  fire, 

Wrestled  with  Titans  monstrous  as  the  clouds 

And  cleansed  the  stables  of  the  Augean  herd. 

So  great  is  he  our  fear  is  topped  with  awe ; 

The  crowds  run  not  but  freeze  in  wonderment. 

Shall  we  not  bid  him  hasten  on  his  way 

And  leave  this  house  of  mourning? 

Adm.     Nay,  not  so. 
She  would  not  have  it  so  whose  open  hand 
Fulfilled  the  rites  of  hospitality. 
Strew  flowers,  set  the  tables  and  bring  wine. 

Stezvard.     Alas,  how  can  we  bear  his  merriment! 
No  weariness  can  blight  that  joy  of  his, 
He  will  carouse  and  laugh  the  whole  night  through 
Till  all  the  house  rings  with  his  roaring  songs. 

Adm.     Do  as  I  bid  thee  and  forbear  thy  speech ; 
Thou  didst  not  prate  before  thy  mistress  thus, 
Nor  pause  upon  her  bidding  to  confer. 

(After  a  moment  he  adds  kindly:) 
Good,  faithful  lad ;  I  know — it  is  thy  grief. 


Alcestis  Act  II 


(The  Steward  goes.  Heracles  enters  and 
Admetus  with  a  great  effort  conceals  his 
sorrow.) 

Herac.     All  hail,  Admetus,  king  of  Thessaly ! 
Adm.  (embracing  him).     Be  welcome,  O  Alcides. 
Glad  the  day 
That  sets  thy  feet  toward  thy  friend's  abode. 

Herac.     I  heard  a  sound  of  weeping  as  I  came; 
I  fear  my  visit  breaks  upon  some  grief. 

Adm.     At  thy  approach  I  lay  my  grief  aside : 
Be  welcome,  honored  guest  and  dearest  friend. 

Herac.     I  am  thy  friend,  and  mark  thine  altered 
face. 
Cheat  me  not,  dear  Admetus,  with  fair  words. 
What  sorrow  is  on  thine  house?     Where  are  thy 
children  ? 
Adm.     They  play  within.     I  pray  thee,  come  and 

dine. 
Herac.     Where  is  Alcestis?     Ah,  thou  canst  not 
speak. 
Thy  mantle  of  concealment  falls  aside. 
Alas,  alas,  Alcestis  is  no  more ! 

(Heracles  weeps.) 


Act  II  Alcestis 

23 

Adm.     Tears  from  thine  eyes,  Alcides,  from  thine 
eyes, 
That  looked  on  countless  dreadful  deaths  unmoved ! 
(Heracles  takes  Admctus  in  his  arms.) 

Herac.     Weep  here,  my  friend. 

Adm.  Alas,  I  cannot  weep ! 

Listen,  she  died  for  me,  I  let  her  die ; 
I  took  my  life  that  dared  not  face  my  death. 
I  say,  she  died  for  me,  I  let  her  die. 
And  now  I  taste  of  death  each  hour  I  live. 
I  have  my  life,  thou  sayest,  and  life  is  sweet — 
They  cry  it  after  me  along  the  ways — 
"Behold  the  man  that  let  a  woman  die! 
See  where  he  goes,  that  loved  his  wife  so  well. 
The  coward,  the  coward,  that  feared  and  dared  not 
die!" 

Herac.     Thou  hast  thy  children. 

Adm.  Yea,  they  do  accuse  me. 

They  cry  for  her  that  shall  not  come  again. 
And  by  a  thousand  lovely,  careless  ways 
They  bring  remembrance  like  the  bitter  lees 
That  I  must  drink  who  quaffed  the  golden  wine. 
What's  hfe  to  me,  who  have  no  joy  of  life? 


Alcestis  Act  II 

24 

My  vacant  home,  my  arms  that  grope  in  vain ; 
Why,  what  is  left  of  Hfe  that  is  to  come? 
All  that  remains  is  ashes  of  the  fire, 
All  that  remains  is  scentless  dust  of  flowers, 
All  that  remains  is  but  a  brook  run  dry — 

(He  checks  himself  suddenly.) 

But  thou  art  weary,  friend,  come  in  and  rest, 

I  see  thy  heavy  leaning  on  thy  staff. 

Thou  hast  a  little  eased  my  heart  with  speech. 

Herac.     Where  is  thy  sweetness  now,  Alcestis, 
where? 
She  cast  a  radiance  round  her  like  the  moon. 
Gentling  the  rough  dark  world  with  silver  rays. 

Adm.     I   cannot  bear  her  praise :   I   pray  thee, 
cease, 
I  knew  not  how  I  dwelt  within  her  love 
Sheltered  from  rude  alarms  and  horrid  hate 
In  all-sufficing  blissful  certitude 
Till  I  was  thrust  forth  naked  and  bereft 
Across  the  barren  world  a  wanderer. 

Herac.     Admetus,  I  have  loved  thee  heartily 
And  now  in  this  thy  grief  am  knit  to  thee 
And  shaken  with  thy  pangs.     What  love  may  do 


Act  II  Alcestis 

25 

That  would  I  do  or  suffer.     Words  are  weak, 
But  deeds  are  scarcer  and  more  eloquent. 
I'll  say,  "Despair  not  yet."     Lean  on  my  heart; 
Here  is  a  power  that  many  have  sought  to  quell — 
This  little  throbbing  force  that  shall  not  cease 
However  pain  and  fear  shall  thrust  at  it 
Till  when  my  father  shall  command  an  end, 
And  through  the  serving  of  mine  enemy 
I  wrest  my  godhead  from  reluctant  heaven. 
Surely  an  end  shall  be  to  all  our  grief. 
Bear  strongly  then ;  survive  in  confidence. 
■  Death  may  be  less  a  thing  than  we  can  know ; 
His  chiefest  terror  lies  in  our  poor  hearts — 
Shrinking  from  the  unknown  as  children  do 
That  people  the  unfriendly  dark  with  fears. 

Adm.     And  thou  at  least  wouldst  live. 
Come  in  and  dine. 

Herac.     Farewell,  Admetus,  I  must  forth  again. 
Give  me  thy  promise,  as  a  friend  to  friend, 
Thou  wilt  await  me  here  till  my  return. 

Adm.     Where  wilt  thou  go,  that  art  so  weary 
now? 


Alcestis  Act  II 

26 

Herac.    I  go  to  serve  one  that  my  heart  loves 
more 
Than  rest  or  food.     My  heart  sustains  my  feet. 
I  must  go  forth  and  labor  till  the  end. 


ACT  III 

Scene  I.  The  abode  of  the  dead.  Barren  cliffs  rising  from 
a  waste  of  sand.  An  intense  and  pallid  glare  lights  the  scene. 
Miserable  creatures  of  grey  and  starved  countenance  hurry  to 
and  fro,  gazing  in  one  another's  faces  with  curious  hatred. 

Clio.     O  for  escape  from  the  unpitying  light! 
O  for  a  rest  for  the  unflagging  feet ! 
O  let  us  sleep,  and  for  the  time  forget ! 

Herac.     Say,  who  are  ye,  tormented  thus,  that 
roam? 

Cho.     We    are    those    creatures    tortured    with 
regret ; 
The  gentle  deed  undone,  the  word  unsaid, 
The  hand  of  help  withheld,  the  love  ungiven, 
Float  like  mirage  above  the  quivering  air. 
Shining  impalpable  and  swiftly  gone — 
The  joy  of  giving  now  forever  lost. 
We  are  the  cowards  and  the  renegades, 
The  misers  and  the  cold  and  dry  of  heart  ; 
Not  hastily  nor  of  a  single  hour 
Wrought  we  our  doom,  but  through  neglectful  years, 
Piled  like  the  sifting  grains  of  arid  sand. 

27 


Alcestis  Act  III 

28 

Ourselves  secure  we  cared  not  for  earth's  pain, 

We  aided  not  the  wretched,  nor  consoled. 

We  let  the  vicious  wander  unredeemed. 

We  shrugged  and  sauntered  on  our  easeful  way, 

And  now  we  see,  in  clear,  intensest  light, 

The  barren  semblance  of  the  life  we  lived, 

And  each  upon  the  other  looks  to  find 

The  meanness  and  the  shames  himself  doth  bear. 

(Darkness  falls  upon  the  scene,  then  the 
clouds  lift  until  in  a  deep  gloom  is  seen 
the  second  hell.  Here  lie  creatures  silent 
and  motionless,  in  postures  of  agony. 
Though  very  dim,  it  may  he  perceived 
that  their  eyes  are  fixed  and  opened 
zvide.) 
Herac.  Say,  who  are  ye,  that  lie  immovable  ? 
Can  ye  not  speak,  nor  sigh,  nor  stir,  nor  see? 

(His  own  voice  alone  is  heard.     It's  echoes 
die  away.) 
The  awful  stillness  hangs  upon  my  breath — 
I  must  go  forth ! 

(The  voice  of  Death  without.) 
Death.     O  Hero,  these  lie  sunk  in  their  remorse. 


Act  III  Alcestis 

29 

Each  heart,  weighed  into  stillness,  knows  itself, 

And  of  itself  alone  contemplative 

Broods  chained  in  deep  unswerving  agony. 

Hcrac.  (approaching  them).     Drawn  brows  and 
writhen  lips  immovable, 
Faces  of  frozen  anguish,  and  blank  eyes, 
Wide  stretched,  that  stare  unseeing. 

Death.     They  look  within. 
These  spirits  turned  high  powers  to  deeds  of  ill, 
Tipped  with  the  poison  of  a  festered  heart 
Their  gifts,  like  arrows,  fell  among  mankind. 
This  now  they  think  on ;  each  looks  on  his  own. 
Deep  in  the  blackness  of  his  evil  sunk 
In  pain  that  cannot  seek  relief  from  pain. 

Herac.     O  horror — let  me  forth — Where  are  the 
blest  ? 

(The  scene  darkens  and  grows  light,  dis- 
playing aisles  of  a  great  forest.  The 
branches  meet  overhead,  the  sky  above 
them  being  of  the  clear  and  shining  pal- 
lor of  a  summer  evening  when  the  sun 
has  just  fallen  belozv  the  horizon.  Be- 
neath the  trees  it  is  neither  dark  nor 


Alcestis  Act  III 

30 

bright,  but  a  green  twilight  shines 
through  the  leaves.  Pillowed  upon  the 
deep  green  moss  lie  many  white-robed 
forms  easily  disposed  in  sleep.  Alcestis 
lies  in  the  foreground.  There  is  a 
sound  of  light  wind,  and  the  branches 
stir  and  sway.  A  drowsing  bird  calls 
softly.) 

Death.     Hero,    there   lie   the   good   in   peaceful 
sleep. 
In  yonder  deep  green  shade,  serene  and  fair, 
They  rest  enfolded  in  beatitude, 
In  dreamless  sweetness  of  accomplished  toil, 
Lapped  around  with  all  the  love  they  bore  on  earth. 

Herac.  (advancing  to  Alcestis).     How  deep  she 
sleeps,  and,  smiling  in  her  sleep. 
Moves  now  a  Httle,  and  her  easeful  breath 
Comes  gently  in  soft  comfort  to  and  fro. 
Never  had  one  on  earth  such  pure  repose. 
Almost  I  do  repent  me  of  my  task. 

I  feel  a  presence  near  me  in  the  air, 
I  feel  and  cannot  see,  but  know  it  near, 


Act  III  Alcestis 

31 

By  the  cold  sweat  that  gathers  over  me, 
The  trembling  and  the  horror  of  my  flesh, 
I  know  thee.  Death. 

Death.     Thou  canst  not  see  me  till  thine  hour  has 
come. 

(Heracles  shakes  himself,  lion-like.) 
Herac.     I  am  that  Heracles,  the  son  of  light. 
Decay  and  foulness  and  devouring  wrong 
Cannot  oppose  me,  nor  can  suffering  stay, 
Nor  swarming  evil  sap  my  patience. 
I  am  unresting  as  the  falling  streams, 
And  patient  as  the  hills  beneath  the  snow. 
And  tireless  as  the  quick  and  soaring  flames, 
For  in  my  veins  there  flows  the  blood  of  God, 

(Death  becomes  visible.) 
Death.     Behold    me,    Heracles.     What    wouldst 

thou  have  ? 
Herac.     Give    back    Alcestis    to    her    mourning 

house. 
Death.     Not  so ;  who  cometh  here  cannot  return. 
Herac.     I  shall  compel  thee. 
Death.  Pause,  O  Heracles ; 


Alcestis  Act  III 

32 

Then  shalt  thou  die,  and  yet  be  saved  aHve, 
Tasting  thy  death  decreed  a  second  time. 

Herac.     Thus  let  it  be ;  Alcides  serves  his  friend. 
(Heracles  wrestles  with  Death,  and  is  seized 
in  an  agony,   tearing  at  himself.     He 
wrestles  the  more  violently  as  he  suf- 
fers.) 
Herac.     I  burn !     I  burn ! — yield — O  thou  cruel 
tyrant ! 
My  flesh  is  unconsumed — O  let  me  die ! 
Light,  light  the  funeral  pyre,  and  let  me  perish ! 
Think  not  to  conquer  in  mine  agony, 
I  shall  prevail  before  thine  hour  is  come, 
And  though  I  die  yet  shall  Alcestis  live ! 
The  bleeding  heart  and  terror-darkened  eyes 
Of  the  tormented  race  of  man  in  me 
Rouse  energies  that  like  the  streams  of  spring 
Swelling  in  flood  across  the  sunken  fields 
Upbear  me  on  great  tides  invincible. 

Death,  (conquered).     Thou  hast  prevailed.     Al- 
cides, take  thy  prize. 
(Heracles  falls  spent  into  the  arms  of  Death, 
who  sustains  him.) 


Act  III  Alcestis 

33 

Herac.     Merciful  Death,  O  give  me  thy  repose; 
Let  me  now  rest. 

Death.     Arouse  thee,  Hero,  much  is  yet  to  do ; 
The  world  has  need  of  thee ;  Admetus  waits. 

Herac.     O  let  me  rest  with  thee,  benignant  spirit 

Death.     Now  thou  hast  known  me  kinder  is  thy 
speech ; 
Not  yet,  however,  is  the  appointed  time; 
Thou  must  go  forth  and  serve  mankind,  Alcides. 

Herac.  (rousing  himself).     Yea,  I  shall  go.     Yet 
tell  me,  ere  I  leave  thee. 
If  those  that  roam  without  may  ever  pause, 
And  those  in  stark,  unmoving  pain  be  free  ? 
Yea,  even  if  these  blest  sleepers  shall  awake? 

Death.     Look  in  thy  hero-heart,  O  Heracles, 
There  hast  thou  found  forever  hope,  for  love 
Drives  thee  still  forth  to  labor  for  the  world. 
Love  works  in  death  in  ways  diverse  from  life. 
Yet  ever  works  on  to  an  end  unseen. 


ACT  IV 

Scene  I.  In  the  great  garden  of  Admetus.  Beyond  are 
rolling  meadows  to  the  east.  The  light  is  that  of  a  spring 
morning  before  the  dawn.  As  the  scene  proceeds  the  dawn 
breaks  and  the  sun  rises. 

Admetus  (alone). 

O  changing  sky, 
Thou  canst  not  bring  my  dawn ; 

Returning  day. 
My  Hght  forever  withdrawn. 

Awakening  year, 
Bloom  visits  not  my  spring, 

My  joy  of  hfe 
Not  ever  wakening. 

Can  ye  not  bide  away  or  fade  before  ye  blow,  ye 

flowers  ? 
Can  ye  not  weep  forever,  O  silver  April  showers  ? 
And  thou,  O  fair  May  moon,  do  not  awake, 
For  at  thy  lover's  light  this  heart  shall  break. 
34 


Act  IV  Alcestis 

35 

Sweet-throated  choir  of  spring,  let  all  your  music 

fail; 
And  thou  come  not,  come  not  O  nightingale — 
Love's  voice — come  not ;  be  mute,  O  nightingale ; 
For  Love's  own  sake,  come  not,  O  nightingale. 
Surely  the  spring  shall  cease,  the  days  grow  drear, 
I  cannot  bear  the  spring — she  is  not  here. 

Return  Alcestis! 

How  canst  thou  leave  me  here  thus  desolate  ? 

My  cry  goes  forth  to  the  unpitying  air — 

I  know  that  I  must  live  till  death  alone. 

Heart  of  my  heart,  since  love  did  make  us  one. 

Live  on  in  me,  O  spirit  of  my  love. 

Thy  nobler  soul  shall  purify  my  soul. 

And  my  low  life  ascend  to  meet  thy  life. 

Come,  then,  a  second  bridal  of  the  soul. 

And  let  the  mystic  bond  be  consecrate. 

So  shall  I  live  in  thee  forevermore. 

Receive  this  life,  O  love,  that  turns  to  thee. 

The  dim,  dark  heaven  waits  solicitous, 
The  distant  cock-crows  ring  upon  the  air, 
And  stillness  flows,  heavily  flooding  in. 


Alcestis  Act  IV 

36 

The  grey-green  leaves  in  shadowy  mysteries 
Float  up  and  settle.  A  bird  calls  sleepily, 
And  now  another,  and  now  a  stirring  throng. 

(Enter  Heracles,  supporting  Alcestis,  who 
is  completely  veiled  in  white.) 

I  see  a  form  against  the  shining  sky, 
Look !  slowly  coming  from  the  brightening  east 
Walks  Heracles,  with  lingering  steps  of  woe, 
Returning  sadly  to  this  sorrowing  home. 

(As  Heracles  and  Alcestis  draw  nearer,  Ad- 
metus  calls  to  Heracles.) 

Adm.     Whom  hast  thou  there,  that  hangs  upon 
thine  arm 
As  hangs  the  white-flowered  vine  against  the  oak. 
Fluttering  in  every  breeze,  and  like  to  fall  ? 

Herac.     One  that  must  pass   from  my  support 
to  thine. 

Adm.     Take  her  within  and  bid  them  care  for  her. 
Since  thou  hast  brought  her  she  shall  nothing  lack. 

Herac.     I  bring  her  unto  thee,  and  thee  alone. 

Adm.     What  dost  thou  mean,  O  friend? 

Herac.  Receive  a  bride. 


Act  IV  Alcestis 

37 

Adm.     Thou  art  my  friend;  thy  thought  is  hid 
from  me, 
But  even  in  this  I  trust  thee,  as  I  know 
So  deep  the  perfect  fountain  of  thy  heart. 
There  cannot  flow  therefrom  polluted  tides. 
Such  word  to  me  had  been  another's  death. 
This  lady  shall  be  honored  for  thy  sake, 
But  even  for  thee  I  cannot  take  a  bride — 
Her  place  that  is  no  more  cannot  be  filled. 
Nor  shall  I  mock  my  sacred  memories. 

Herac.  (commandingly).     Take  yet  her  hand,  and 
love  her  for  my  sake. 

Adm.     Give  me  thy  hand,  O  stranger;  for  his 
sake 
That  brought  thee,  thou  art  precious  in  my  eyes. 

(Admetus  takes  the  hand  of  Alcestis.) 
Adm.     This  hand !     This  hand ! 
A  touch  of  fire  that  flashes  to  my  heart. 
I  know  each  fold,  each  yieldine  of  this  flesh ; 
Each  motion  is  more  eloquent  than  speech ; 
The  pressure  of  thy  fingers  passes  through  me. 

Herac.     Admetus,    I   must   go.     Farewell,    dear 
friend. 


Alcestis  Act  IV 

38 

(He  approaches  them,  hut  they  do  not  move 
nor  see  him.) 

In  mystic,  perfect  loneliness  they  stand, 
Cut  off  from  men  farther  than  space  can  move. 
Through  many  blissful  years  hallow  the  earth, 
That  mankind  turn  from  wrong  by  seeing  love. 
O  happy  pair,  bless  by  thy  happiness ! 

(He  goes  slowly  out.) 

Adm.     I  dare  not  lift  thy  veil,  lest  I  awake, 
O  sweetest  dream,  yet  must  I  see  thy  face. 

(He  lifts  her  veil  as  the  sun  rises.) 
Alcestis ! 

Ale.     Admetus !     My  husband ! 
Adm.     Beloved.     (Pause.)     Alcestis! 
Ale.     (Pause.)  Admetus! 

Adm.     Come  heart  to  heari  and  let  throb  answer 
throb, 
We  live  together  and  together  love. 

(He  takes  Alcestis  in  his  arms.) 

Ale.     We  live  together  and  together  love. 
Adm.     Fair  morning,   clear   across   the  shining 
green, 


Act  IV  Alcestis 

39 

Meseems  the  sun  was  never  so  gold  before, 
Nor  the  Hght  air  so  dehcate  and  sweet, 
Nor  all  the  birds  so  gay. 

Ale.     O  blessed  morn  that  brings  me  unto  thee. 
Not  thee  alone,  but  all  the  world  I  love. 

Adiii.     The  golden  cup  of  joy  is  overrun. 
Become  a  living  fountain  for  the  world. 

Both.     O  hasten,  all  ye  people,  and  rejoice. 
For  love  is  proven  conqueror  of  death. 

(The  chorus  enters.) 

Chorus. 
What  Love  shall  do  who  may  foretell? 
Stricken  he  seems,  and  suddenly  displays 
New  ardors  irresistible  to  quell 
That  the  astonished  fates  compel 

Unto  his  praise. 
The  night  that  gathers  on  our  ways 
Is  terrible  no  more,  nor  dread  therof 

Shadows  the  coming  days ; 
For  like  a  torch  among  us  Love  has  passed 
And  on  beyond  the  appalling  dark  at  last 
Far  beaconing  behold  the  face  of  Love. 


IPHIGENEIA 

[The  scene  is  at  Aulis,  before  the  tent  of  Agamemnon.] 
Iphigeneia  : 

Chorus  :  Consisting  of  Greek  warriors  and  the  maidens  who 
have  accompanied  Iphigeneia  from  Mycenae. 

Chorus  of  Men. 

When  fierce  through  Hellas  Menelaus  ran  forth 
Calling  the  Greeks,  swift  to  our  arms  we  sprang, 
Impatient  to  avenge  him  of  his  wrongs 
And  bound  by  solemn  oath  of  Tyndareus. 
Behold  at  Aulis  hath  our  haste  and  rage 
Been  wasted  impotent,  till  Chalcas  bids 
We  offer  Agamemnon's  daughter  here 
A  sacrifice  to  ruling  Artemis, 
That  we  may  win  a  favorable  breeze 
To  waft  our  galleys  through  the  azure  sea. 
Long  hath  the  king  withstood  our  dread  demand, 
Perforce  hath  yielded  and  the  maid  is  come 
Lured  from  her  quiet  home  by  a  pretense, 
A  summoning  to  be  Achilles'  bride — 
She,  who  must  bleed  on  the  appointed  stone. 

40 


Iphigeneia 
41 

Ye  bright  tressed  girls  whose  cheeks  are  wan  with 

fear, 
No  harm  is  purposed  you,  but  she  shall  die. 

Chorus  of  Maidens. 
We  mourn  for  her  we  serve  and  dearly  love. 
Alas,  how  blithe  has  been  our  journey  here 
That  ends  in  tears.     We  sported  through  the  fields 
Where  hoary  olives  in  the  breeze  and  sun 
Flashed  into  silver,  or  we  rested  cool 
In  the  deep  shade  of  solemn  cypresses 
That  pace  the  pale  green  hills  in  dark  stoled  march. 
White  ran  the  road  to  urge  us  on  our  way 
With  scarlet  poppies  beckoning  in  the  heat. 
Iphigeneia,  ah,  alas  for  thee ! 
Lured  in  thine  innocence  to  dreadful  death, 
Caught  in  the  coil  by  Helen's  beauty  spun 
That  like  a  floating  web  ensnares  and  binds 
How  many,  many  more  that  yet  shall  fall. 

Men. 

We  shall  avenge  her,  blood  for  blood 
When  Paris  pays  for  love  with  life 
And  over  the  tall  towers  of  Troy 


Iphigeneia 

42 

Her  last  sun  flames  on  fiercer  fires 
Forth  leaping  under  pitch  black  smoke. 
When  on  the  purple  couches'  pride 
The  gilded  beams  crash  sundering ; 
When  Hector's  sword  no  more  shall  gleam, 
And  white  haired  Priam  deeper  sleeps, 
And  shield  and  helm  are  red  with  gore 
And  hung  with  gems  and  plundered  gold. 

Maidens. 
O  Helen,  are  thy  slumbers  sweet? 
Do  not  the  ghosts  untimely  dead 
Gather  about  thy  perfumed  feet 
And  cry  above  thy  golden  head  ? 
Dost  thou  not  wake  in  chilly  dread 
While  loud  thy  startled  pulses  beat  ? 

O  Helen,  are  thy  slumbers  light  ? 
Is  not  the  darkness  tongued  with  flame. 
The  thunder  groaning  through  the  night 
For  thy  god-fated  sin  and  shame, 
The  miseries  on  Troy  that  came 
Therefrom  to  purchase  thy  deHght? 

Men. 
Let  be !     Iphigeneia  from  the  tent 


Iphigeneia 

43 

Comes  forth  with  brow  serene  and  quiet  face 
Gazing  as  one  that  looks  on  distant  lands. 

Iphigeneia. 

Across  the  fields  I  see  the  morning  light 

Dawn  clearly  after  rain. 

The  scented  meadows  shining  silver  white, 

I  shall  not  see  again ! 

I  hear  the  spring  winds  calling  me  to  come, 

Calling  me  home, 

0  happy  home  I  shall  not  see  again. 

1  hear  the  drowsy  birds  stirring  to  sing. 
Low  twittering, 

Till,  hark !  a  single  strain  soars  out  above. 

Often  I  dreamed  a  golden  dream  in  vain, 

That  song,  the  song  of  love ; 

Love  was  its  prophecy, 

Love  with  its  peace  and  its  pain, 

Love,  the  unknown  drawing  nearer  to  me. 

Maidens. 
She  smiles  in  visions  of  her  nuptial  day 
Whereof  we  sang  and  whiled  away  the  hours 
Stepping  beside  the  slowly  swaying  car. 


Iphigeneia 

44 

Iphigeneia. 
Then  as  I  roused  in  the  clamor  of  song 
Rapture  of  birds  as  the  sun  shone  in  heaven, 
Jubilant,  strong, 

Spread  like  the  dawn,  visions  slumber  had  given ; 
I  should  go  forth  to  the  sound  of  gay  song. 
Circled  by  light-footed  dancers  that  throng. 
Teasing  the  horses  they  guide. 
Garlands  of  flowers  above  and  beneath, 
Trumpets  to  ring  on  the  echoing  air, 
Laughter  to  ripple  and  rise — 
I  should  go  forth  all  adorned  and  called  fair, 
Happiest  bride. 

Not  in  dark  pageantry  drawn  to  my  death. 
Crowned  and  hymned  for  the  sacrifice. 

Men. 
Let  not  Achilles  hear  her  as  she  speaks. 
He  cried  aloud  to  us  she  should  not  die, 
And  drew  his  sword  until  we  drove  him  back, 
With  stones  upcast,  a  roaring  multitude. 

Iphigeneia. 
Then,  my  beloved,  glorious  shall  come 


Iphigeneia 
45 

To  lead  me  home, 

And  lifted  o'er  the  sill  with  spells  and  charms, 

And  sugar  plums  in  showers, 

And  warning  if  he  slips, 

How  shall  I  lean  within  his  clasping  arms 

And  feel  his  kisses  fall  like  light  blown  flow^ers 

Soft  on  my  face,  till  on  my  lips  his  lips 

Cling  and  are  still. 

And  in  the  silence  for  all  speech  too  sweet. 

When  shining  eyes  with  shining  tear  drops  fill 

Shall  our  two  hearts  strike  answer  beat  for  beat. 

Alas  for  me,  fate  hath  not  these  to  give. 

How  shall  I  die  that  never  yet  did  live  ? 

Maidens. 
Our  tears  are  all  with  thine,  most  hapless  maid, 
Born  in  thy  beauty  to  a  queen's  estate 
Imperilled  by  how  dark  a  destiny. 

Iphigeneia. 
Nor  shall  I  lie  soft  on  a  loving  breast 
Cherished  by  those  that  weep. 
Sinking  into  my  rest 
Till  peacefully 


Iphigeneia 

46 

Goes  out  the  ebbing  life, 
For  death  comes  often  gently  as  a  sleep, 
But,  ah,  the  smoking  altar  waits  for  me, 
The  tightening  cords,  the  horror  of  the  knife ! 

Maidens. 
She  shrinks  away  and  beats  upon  her  breast ! 

Men. 
Erect  she  stands  and  wipes  away  her  tears 
And  looks  upon  us  with  unflinching  eyes. 

Maidens. 
Yea,  now  she  smiles  and  slowly  lifts  her  head. 

Full  chorus. 
Some  hope  hath  come  to  her,  or  happiness. 
She  beckons  unto  us  to  hear  her  word. 
Draw  near  and  listen  and  forbear  thy  speech. 
Surely  a  god  hath  whispered  unto  her. 

Iphigeneia. 
Even  I  this  day  the  oracle  have  heard ; 
In  answer  to  my  cry, 
There  came  a  solemn  call 
From  where  the  Pythoness  in  horrid  strife 


Iphigeneia 
47 

Hung  in  the  fume  and  then  the  sudden  word : 

"Unfit  to  Hve,  unfit  to  die, 

He  shall  not  live  that  dares  not  die." 

And  hath  it  come  to  me  that  comes  to  all — 

Is  this  my  dream  that  now  the  high  gods  give 

In  fashion  new  ? — 

The  hope  in  every  woman's  heart  that  lies  ? 

Then  shall  I  make  the  eternal  great  reply  : 

"In  power  of  love  I  shall  not  die  but  live 

If  so  my  life  shall  give  the  world  new  life." 

Goddess,  receive  a  willing  sacrifice. 

Joyful,  O  Greeks,  I  give  my  life  for  you ! 


SPRING  WINDS 

The  wind  of  March  has  the  call  of  the  sea 
(O  wings  of  the  wind,  do  they  never  tire?) 

It  hurries  the  cloud  and  it  harries  the  tree 
With  the  flutter  and  roar  of  a  leaping  fire. 

Cold  and  wild  and  eager  to  flee, 

Is  the  lure  to  loss  or  to  liberty, 

Light  of  the  eyes  and  my  Heart's  Desire? 

The  April  wind  has  the  scent  of  the  rain 
(O  wings  of  the  wind,  do  they  never  tire?) 

Softly  it  whispers  and  hushes  again. 
Warm  as  the  kiss  of  the  pale  sun  fire — 

Promise  of  bloom  and  the  green  of  new  grain; 

Is  peace  but  the  drowsy  surcease  of  pain, 
Light  of  the  eyes  and  my  Heart's  Desire  ? 

The  wind  of  May  tosses  the  petals  white 
(O  wings  of  the  wind,  do  they  never  tire?) 

White  as  the  love-moon  silvering  the  night, 
Pure  as  the  dew  and  the  heart's  new  fire. 

Balmy  blessing  and  strong  sweet  might, 

Liberty,  peace  and  the  sure  delight. 

Light  of  the  eyes  and  my  Heart's  Desire  ? 
48 


AGE 

(Rembrandt's  "Philosopher.") 

The  air  is  heavy  in  this  vaulted  room, 
The  empty  corridors  are  damp  with  mold, 
I  shall  not  seek  again  their  tortuous  gloom 
Nor  dare  the  outer  cold. 

Sunk  in  my  chair,  content  where  thought  may  lead 
I  muse  on  One  that  comes  but  comes  so  late, 
And  gazing  at  the  book  I  cannot  read 
I  wait,  and  still  I  wait. 

Dim  through  the  dusty  casement  falls  the  light 
And  on  the  floor  a  ruddy  sunbeam  glows : 
Yet  even  there,  to  cage  the  yearning  sight, 
The  barring  lattice  shows. 

Touching  the  first  steps  of  the  soaring  stair 
A  gleam  glides  where  the  spirals  outward  lean, 
And  like  a  signal  torch  it  wanders  there 
Into  the  dark  unseen. 
49 


Age 

so 

0  where,  O  where  ?  for  I  am  tired  and  bHnd, 
Obeying  heavily  a  heavy  heart ; 

1  am  not  joyous  to  remain  behind 

Nor  zealous  to  depart. 

Meseems  I  have  but  faint  hopes  any  more, 
My  spirit  quests  no  gay  imaginings. 
Desire  has  dwindled  so  since  first  I  wore 
Those  versi-colored  wings. 

The  slowly  narrowing  cell  that  holds  this  mind 
Pain-filled  and  dark  with  solitude  intense, 
Will  it  crush  out  what  spark  I  still  can  find, 
Or  drive  it  living  hence  ? 

So  far  away  began  my  pilgrimage 
I  have  forgot  how  far,  for  time  no  more 
Befriends  me — all  at  enmity  with  age 
Shoves  to  the  gaping  door. 

And  ever  as  the  sunbeams  wane  and  wane. 
And  glimmering  the  hueless  dusk  draws  near, 
Night  throws  my  bleak  face  from  the  blackened  pane, 
And  calls  the  mortal  fear. 


Age 

51 

The  heavy  chronicle  of  vanished  days 
Seems  Hke  a  dust-smeared  scroll  of  little  worth, 
Like  smoke  dissolved  in  air  is  human  praise, 
Like  earth  returned  to  earth. 

In  rapt  communion  with  the  solemn  sky 
And  stars  like  trembling  dewdrops  crystalline 
I  searched  the  rhythmic  laws  that  underlie 
Their  influence  benign. 

I  sought  the  fount  of  youth  through  deserts  wide, 
And  wrought  in  earth  to  charm  the  golden  pelf ; 
Alas,  I  followed  no  diviner  guide 
Than  the  imperious  self. 

All  memories  of  triumph  and  all  powers — 
How  lost  they  are,  how  colorless  and  cold ! 
Only  the  loves  of  unforgotten  hours 

Their  gathered  sweetness  hold  : 

The  love  wherewith  I  strove  to  serve  and  save, 
To  find  and  follow  hidden  harmonies ; 
The  gold  that  I  rejoiced  in  as  I  gave 
True  and  untarnished  lies. 


Age 

52 

The  glorious  love  and  lore  and  strength  I  took 
From  hearts  beside  my  heart,  or  great  ones  gone, 
Beams  like  the  light  irradiate  from  this  book 
And  I  am  not  alone 

Companioned  by  that  fellowship  of  eld 
That  in  sincerity  paused  not  to  dread, 
By  love  inspired  and  by  love  upheld 
And  ever  comforted. 

Subtle  of  foot  steals  on  the  night  of  time, 
Shrouding  the  forms  and  phantasies  that  were ; 
O  Love,  lead  on  the  way  that  I  must  climb — 
Light  on  the  lowest  stair ! 


THE  CLOCK 

I 

Like  to  a  miser  weighing  with  slow  skill 

Recorded  patiently,  his  precious  store; 

Or  a  magician  sunk  in  perilous  lore 
And  pondering  the  sum  of  mortal  ill ; 
Or  leech  whose  potions  drop  by  drop  distil 

To  hush  the  heavy  pain ;  or  like  the  score 

Of  debtors  set  upon  the  tavern  door 
That  lengthens  as  their  parching  throats  they  fill. 
Thy  never-seen  commodity  men  spend 

As  it  were  valueless  or  could  not  cease. 
For  me,  I  use  thee  as  a  journeying  friend, 

And  when  from  thy  discourse  I  have  release 
Then  shall  my  lonely  wandering  find  an  end 

In  meeting  loves  or  sink  in  senseless  peace. 

II 

Helpless  I  stand  and  beckon  silently 

To  all  that  crowd  and  hurry  past  my  face. 
Do  they  not  know  they  run  a  fixed  race 
53 


The  Clock 

54 

And  never  shall  return  as  they  go  by  ? 
Why  use  they  not  my  moments  ere  they  fly 

To  hallow  and  adorn  this  dwelling  place  ? 

So  should  the  essence  of  exceeding  grace 
Abide  in  perfume  though  the  makers  die. 
They  should  not  load  their  free  limbs  chain  by  chain 
Trembling  as  criminals  condemned  to  pain, 

But  like  the  lordly  vessel  steering  home 

Freighted  with  star-imprisoning  jewels  come, 
And  my  last  call  should  be  a  glad  refrain 
That  soars  to  meet  a  final  splendid  strain. 


POCAHONTAS  IN  ENGLAND 

The  larks  are  in  the  azure  air, 

TrilHng  a-wing, 

And  cuckoos  in  a  deep-embowered  lair, 

Their  dull  and  plaintive  beat 

Waver  ingly  repeat. 

While  bloomy  may  scents  every  breeze  with  spring! 

But  she,  with  listless  mien, 

Through  lanes  of  drooping  green. 

By  rose-hung  lodge  and  ivied  hedge  goes  wandering. 

The  sunset  gold  is  in  the  little  rill 

That  by  the  square  church-tower  slips,  glassy  still, 

A  mirror  for  the  dark  and  writhen  yew ; 

Far,  sweetly  chiming  bells  the  curfew  ring, 

The  red-roofed  village  sleeps  below  the  hill. 

And  off  against  the  blue 

A  ruined  abbey  rears  a  gray-arched  nave 

By  fronded  columns  tall, 

And  through  the  shadowed  cloisters,  cool  and  grave, 

A  group  of  shouting  school-boys  play  at  ball. 

She  sees,  not  with  her  eyes,  but  with  her  heart, 

The  stalking  braves,  the  peaked  wigwams  brown, 

The  pine  fire's  ruddy  smoke ;  and  slow  tears  start 

55 
LOFC. 


Pocahontas  in  England 

56 

And  on  her  unmoved  Indian  face  slip  down. 

Her  spirit  seeks  the  wild,  wide  woods, 

Sweet  with  the  scents  of  fall, 

Where  whirring  partridge  chase  their  broods, 

And  in  the  gold  and  scarlet  solitudes 

The  chipmunks  call. 

Hark,  the  great  deer  is  crashing  his  fierce  way ! 

The  milk-white  birches  bend,  the  maples  break, 

Till  tossing  tops  tell  where  his  pathway  lies. 

And  lo,  beside  the  lilied  lake. 

Where  the  blue  herons  wade  and  quick  kingfishers 

play. 
She  starts  the  feeding  doe,  that  halts  to  shake 
A  dripping  head,  and  stamp  the  pool  to  spray 
In  wondering  surprise, 
Gazing  at  her  the  while  with  splendid,  fearless  eyes. 

Wakening  she  looks  upon  the  peaceful  scene ; 
The  level  walks  and  gardens  seem  a  part 
With  the  brocade  that  sweeps  the  daisied  green, 
The  white  ruff  cutting  at  her  bronzy  chin. 
The  pressure  of  her  bodice,  and  within 
The  sick  and  mordant  anguish  at  her  heart. 


Pocahontas  in  England 

57 

She  lays  a  laurel  leaf  in  one  hot  palm, 

The  smooth,  cool  touch  a  symbol  of  sweet  calm, 

And  vaguely  still  she  searches  in  her  mind : 

"Once  for  a  paleface  risked  I  life  and  limb; 

He  was  the  bound,  and  I  the  fearless  free. 

Does  this  one  know  how  greater  far  for  him 

The  gift  I  gave,  when  that  I  left  my  kind 

And  lost  my  liberty  ? 

Ah,  would  that  I  might  sleep  at  last  at  home!" 

The  gravel  cracks  beneath  a  hastening  tread ; 

Her  sad  eyes  light,  she  lifts  the  sunken  head, 

Swiftly  she  turns  to  see  her  husband  come. 

Clasped  in  his  arms  and  looking  in  his  face. 

With  head  bent  back  for  kisses  falling  fast. 

She  has  forgot  the  present,  lost  the  past; 

Nor  would  she  move 

Ever  from  out  that  instant's  dear  embrace, 

Nor  wish  to  rove, 

For  unto  Love  there  is  no  time  or  place. 

Nor  anything  but  Love. 


THE  MOCKING  BIRD 

The  long-drawn  echo  of  the  solemn  sea 

Wakes  in  the  wind-thrilled  pines  and  wakes  my 

heart 
With  the  green  plumes  astir,  to  shudder  and  bend 
To  vague  emotion  sadder  than  that  sound ; 
Till,  wandering  apart, 
I  hear  a  mournful  murmur  ceaselessly, 
And  from  the  deeps  profound 
Comes  the  unbroken  cry  : 
"Wherefore,  and  to  what  end  ?" 
A  warbling  flung  into  the  quiet  air 
Shivers  the  sullen  stillness.     Like  bright  spray 
The  crystal  trills  drip  through  the  branches  there. 
High  poised  against  the  beaming  sapphire  sky. 
His  throbbing  throat  lifted  in  ecstasy, 
A  mocking  bird  repeats  his  varying  roundelay. 
This  is  the  very  chant  of  brooks  that  run, 
A  gift  the  freely  happy-hearted  give; 
"O,  sing  in  the  sun, 
Fear  not  but  sing, 
This  is  the  call  of  the  spring, 

58 


The  Mocking  Bird 
59 

Awake  and  live !" 

The  airy  whistle  shrills  and  turns  and  calls, 

Ripples  in  fairy  laughter  silver  thin, 

In  soft  and  cooing  notes  answers  and  falls. 

Pauses  to  taste  an  instant's  hush  and  then  begin. 


ENVOY 

Lightly  I  cast  my  wildflowers  on  the  sea 
While  the  slow  surges  swelling  turn  and  break 
And  sinking  suck  them  down  to  depths  unknown, 
Unnoted  specks  in  the  tremendous  gulf. 
Some  waif,  afloat  at  chance  of  wind  and  wave, 
May  Time  that  old  and  crabbed  mariner 
With  cold  slow  fingers  thrust  uncertainly 
Draw  out,  and  weave  within  the  coronal 
That  binds  Athene's  bright  immortal  brows. 


60 


THE  SIN  OF  DAVID 

By  STEPHEN  PHILLIPS 

Author  of  "  Ulysses,"  etc. 

Cloth.     16mo.    $1.25  net 

"Ulysses"  was  accepted  as  proving  Mr.  Phillips's  right 
to  the  title  of  "the  greatest  living  poet  of  English  speech." 
Constructive  power  and  creative  genius  are  rarely  found  in 
such  perfect  combination  as  in  his  brilliant  dramas.  The  new 
play  is  not,  however,  biblical,  as  has  been  assumed  since  it  was 
first  announced  under  the  title  of  "David  and  Bathsheba." 
The  theme  is  clearly  indicated  by  the  title,  but  the  play  opens 
in  the  Army  of  Cromwell,  and  runs  its  course  during  the  Eng- 
lish Civil  War. 

ULYSSES 

A  drama  in  a  prologue  and  three  acts 
By  STEPHEN  PHILLIPS 

Cloth.    16mo.    $1.25  net 

"That  a  young  man  should  in  so  short  a  time  have  sent 
us  all  back  to  read  our  Dante,  our  Josephus,  and  our  Homer, 
is  no  small  achievement,  and  that  after  reading  them  we  have 
pronounced  the  young  man's  work  not  unworthy  of  mention 
in  the  same  breath  with  the  masters,  is  high  enough  praise." 
— Boston  Budget. 

WHEN  THE  BIRDS  GO 
NORTH  AGAIN 

By  MRS.  ELLA  HIGGINSON 

Author  of  "  The  Voice  of  April-land  and  Other  Poems,"  etc. 
Cloth.    16mo. 

"They  have  melody  to  an  unusual  degree,  and,  like  her 
stories,  show  an  ardent  love  of  natural  beauty.  In  emotion, 
they  range  from  the  merry  to  the  gravest  \noods."— Provi- 
dence Jotirnal. 

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64-66  Fifth  Avenue  •  New  York 


THE   DYNASTS 

A  drama  of  the  Napoleonic  wars 

In  three  parts,  nineteen  acts,  and  one  hundred  and  thirty  scenes 

Cloth.    12mo.    $1.50  net 

"The  ripe,  disinterested  labor  of  a  man  who  has  always  had  a  genius 
for  getting  at  the  human  soul,  and  who  in  dealing  with  this  great  subject  of 
the  Napoleonic  wars  in  a  psychological  manner,  undertakes  a  large  em 
prise." — Chicago  Tribune. 

THE  DIVINE  VISION 

By  A.  E. 

Cloth.    16mo.    $1.25  net 

"The  volume,  although  small,  is  of  very  exquisite  rarity  and  tran- 
scendent charm.  Not  only  is  its  spirit  one  of  ethereal  beauty,  but  in  form, 
too,  it  holds  a  level  of  fine  unwontedness  and  abounds  in  single  lines  of 
haunting  perfection  and  large  melody. —  The  Boston  Transcript. 

POEMS 

By  GEORGE  E.  WOODBERRY 

Cloth.    12mo.    $1.50 

"  The  Outlook  has  already  commented  very  fully  on  the  rare  intellec- 
tual and  poetic  quality  of  Prof.  Woodberry's  work  in  verse.  .  .  .  Those 
who  have  been  attracted  to  it  in  the  past  have  found  in  it  a  quality  of 
thought,  of  interest,  and  of  art  which  gives  it  a  permanent  place  in  their 
affections."— T^As  Outlook. 

SONGS  OF  MOTHERHOOD 

Selected  by  E.  J.  H. 

Cloth.    16mo.    $1.25  net 

This  is  a  volume  of  poems  for  young  mothers,  and  celebrates  the 
beauty  and  miracle  of  motherhood.  Strange  as  it  may  seem,  there  is 
in  the  market  no  book  of  this  special  kind  and  field.  Every  selection  is 
cheerful;  thoughtfulness,  hopefulness  and  inspiration  are  the  keynotes. 
Some  very  unusual  poems  have  been  included,  like  those  from  Alma 
Tadema,  William  Canton,  Henry  Timrod,  Richard  Realf,  T.  B.  Aldrich, 
Richard  LeGallienne  and  Richard  Watson  Gilder. 

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8EPS6  1905